Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

Christmas Eve we took all the kids skiing. This would be the first for Tessa. After one run she was doing okay until she saw me, then she needed hot chocolate and a rice krispie treat in the lodge. That was okay, though, because Santa came in and visited the kids in the lodge. She did manage to take two more runs, though. It is pretty fun having all of us up there together (if only we could make the getting ready part a little more enjoyable!)

We were all tired, so the kids had vowed not to come and wake us up on Christmas morning until 7:30. We heard them stirring at 5:00. Then we heard them telling Tessa to come get us. When all was said and done, we were up and ready to head downstairs by 7:15.

Here is a rundown by the numbers:
18 new batteries used
7 times playing games on the Wii
6 stockings stuffed with candy and goodies
5 BYU shirts
4 fights over not sharing
4 new ornaments
4 new Star Wars items
3 meltdowns from one tired 2-year-old
3 board games
3 times chasing Jack so he didn't choke down various items
2 presents opened by Tessa when they weren't hers
2 robots
2 new scooters
1 bike
1 unicycle
0 naps

It was a terrific Christmas! We hope yours was equally amazing! Merry Christmas!

Holy cow, where did the time go?!

Is it already the day after Christmas? I swear Halloween was last week. At least it feels that way. I know that everyone always says that, but seriously. Anyway, here is an update of what we have been up to for the last two months!!!

1. Ted's birthday. I surprised him by taking in several dozen cookies to his office where he happily informed me that they had brought in treats so now he didn't have to share any
cookies. :) (I know - life really isn't fair how he seems to look younger each year and eats candy and cookies like they are going out of style and has NO fat to show from it.....but I digress. That's another post. ) We had a great dinner at home, a rich chocolate cake filled with peanut butter cups, and he got the new bike rollers he had been wanting. Emma also saved up and got him a sweatshirt from "The Killers" concert. She had a friend who was going, and she knew that Ted really liked that group, so she arranged the whole thing by herself. She really is a sweet girl.

(Ted drinking prune juice that the kids gave him!)

2. Lincoln's birthday. Because of the different school schedules Emma leaves for school before the boys are even awake. She had made a simple sign for Lincoln to wish him a happy birthday without any reminding or prompting from us. He woke up, saw it, and he was thrilled that she had remembered. Man, those moments take my breath away. Linc got his favorite dinner of salmon, pasta, and peas, and of course a cake. This year he wanted a cake that looked like a bus riding on a road. I think he just comes up with the most abstract thing he can to see if we can pull it off. It was a visual stretch this year, but he knew we had tried. :) I can't believe he is 10 years old. Man he is a great kid!

3. We crossed to the dark side. If there was ever one thing we were sure of, it was that we were not getting a dog. For years the kids have been asking. Each time we had a great reason why we weren't even considering a dog. We always suspected that there might come a point in time where we did get a dog, but that time always seemed so far away. Our arguments were something like this:

  • We just can't have a dog when we have little babies in the house. (Repeat this argument three times to coincide with each child being born).

  • We can't have a dog until our youngest is at least a year old.

  • We can't have a dog until our youngest is at least two years old.

  • Why would we get a dog when I am already cleaning up food and poop from one of my children?

  • We can't consider getting a dog until our youngest is potty trained.

Man these time lines seemed so far away when we were saying them.

At any rate, we knew the time was getting close. So, we decided to start searching for a dog. We were determined to get a little dog, and we wanted a grown up dog so as to avoid the puppy stages. Well, we filled half of the requirements. It is small.

Santa delivered him to our doorstep early along with this note. It is a bitter sweet present. Ted and I love him, and think he is a pain. The kids just love him. It was priceless watching the kids see him for the first time. It was also funny because one of Sam's friends was over, saw that Santa had delivered a dog to our house, so he ran home yelling, "I'm gonna see if Santa took a dog to my house too!"

So far all is well. However, just this morning after many nights of not enough sleep and waking up to take the dog out and get Tessa some milk he told me, "You know, it was your idea to get a dog and it was also your idea to have kids." I'm not sure which one he was thinking of getting rid of! :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009!

Well, it's over. And what do we have to show for it? A couple of empty makeup tubes, some chocolate covered costumes, sparkles all over the floor, and 16.7 POUNDS of candy. No, that is not a typo. The kids are thrilled. Ted is ecstatic. Me...not so happy about the sugar induced frenzy that I anticipate. I've already been coming up with clever ways to at least ration out the candy. So far they have been good about not overdoing it, but man it is so tempting to just throw it all out....but that is for another day.

Right now I'm still over the moon with how fun it is to have young kids on Halloween. It was a great night, and luckily the weather held out for the most part. The older kids had a great time in the haunted house the next block over. Tessa got pooped on our block and then had a blast opening the door for the trick-or-treaters. She thought it was great the way some kids would scream as the ghost by our front door would turn on and "oooooh" with the noise of their "trick-or-treat!" Totally fun.
This year I learned several things.

1. Taking an almost 3-year-old to school parties is a TON easier than taking an almost 2-year-old.
2. Tessa will wear any costume so long as you add the label "princess" to the end. For example, she was not "Supergirl." She was "Supergirl princess." She was sold.

3. Sam will be anything Star Wars. No fighting. No fuss. If it is Star Wars he is all over it.

4. Emma is growing up so quickly, but she is truly Ted's daughter. He has taught them well that you are never too old to love candy. (Hence the stash in his nightstand!)

5. Linc loves to put his own costume together.

This year was also fun for me because I dressed up as a witch for the school parties. (I know - totally predictable and creates an open invitation for Ted to make some obvious jokes!) Sam thought it was great because he thought I would be trick-or-treating for candy which meant even more candy at the Wagner household. He was quite disappointed when he learned the truth. Tessa was observant and when I accidentally pulled too hard on her hair as I was braiding it she turned to me and said, "You are NOT a GOOD witch!" And Lincoln just cracks me up. He was reading a book and when I asked him if he would be embarassed if I dressed up like a witch when I came to his classroom party he didn't miss a beat and said, " long as you say you are someone else's mom."

Holy cow, I love Halloween.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Got anything good to read???

On Sunday we woke up and decided enough was enough. Tessa was telling us when she had to go, she just didn't want to go in the potty. We decided to really push it this time. We've been talking about it for a long time. We even put some books in there for her to read. She's doing great - no accidents so far. We're keeping our fingers crossed.
However, I guess I need to get some NEW books for her. When I came to check on her once, this is what I found.

One minute they are reading The "Belly Button Book" and the next, they are reading "Bicycling".

Man they grow up fast!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Patch 2009!

Every year I see the signs at Walmart for the pumpkins. $3.98 for a giant pumpkin. The cheapskate in me cringes every time because I know it is a better deal to buy the pumpkins at Walmart. Yet every year I pass by the pile knowing that we will be headed somewhere else for pumpkins.

The pumpkin patch may not be what I look forward to most each year, but it always surprises me how much fun it is watching the kids pick out pumpkins. They have only one rule: They have to be able to carry the pumpkin by themselves. Gone are the years where the kids run around the patch while Ted and I try to juggle four gigantic pumpkins in our arms all while making sure the kids don't get lost, hurt, or run over by a tractor.

This year was great. The weather was perfect. Still a ton of pumpkins to choose from. Tessa understood what the mission was, and she loved it. For the kids the highlights are always the train ride, the swings, the hay bale maze, the home made donut holes, and of course the tractor ride to choose a pumpkin. Some of the highlights for Ted and I? Sam diligently carrying a pumpkin that might just weigh as much as him; Emma dutifully helping Tessa choose a pumpkin only to have Tessa decide she was bored and drop it on the ground (Emma then carried her own pumpkin and Tessa's - what a great sister!); and my personal favorite: Lincoln asking if he could ride the swings again. His exact words were, "Can we ride the swings again? I'm sure they are free!" Ted just started laughing. Yeah. Sure they are. Ahhh.....the innocence of children!
I love watching the kids help each other examine each and every pumpkin to ensure that they get the best "canvas" for their carving creation. I love watching them run around and laugh together. I love seeing them dutifully help each other as they navigate the field with their pumpkins to the tractor. I love watching them hide in the hay bale maze, find each other, and then do it all again. I love listening to them make plans for next year's trip as we are driving away from the pumpkin patch. Priceless.

Maybe those Walmart pumpkins aren't such a great deal after all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playing while the kids are away....

Who needs a dog?

You know, you can never have too many light sabers. Everyone loves them.

The kids love using our dog run for all things Star Wars. One more reason we shouldn't get a dog. If we actually owned a dog for the dog run, where would the Jedi prison be??

First Day of School

Sam has a sweet way of keeping us grounded. He really is a "glass half full" sort of a kid. He is almost always happy and supportive. That is why it is so funny the way he will make sweet comments that are a bit disconcerting. Allow me to illustrate: When we travel on a plane he will say, "I love you. I hope your plane doesn't come crashing down out of the sky." or if Ted goes for a bike ride he will say, "Bye, dad. I hope you don't crash your bike." When Ted is in a bike race he will say, "I hope you don't lose and come in last."

It isn't that he is being sarcastic or mean - he genuinely is hoping for the best things, but it just doesn't quite come out right.

This summer was crazy. Lots going on. On any given day there were between 6 and 11 kids here at any one time. It was crazy. I tried to control it. I tried to limit it. I tried to have fun activities to keep everyone busy, but towards the end it was pure chaos. I admit it. I had lost it. I knew I had lost it when I came into the kitchen and found 6 new cups being used to get water - only to add to the 12 that were already out. I knew I had lost it when I started yelling, "paper cups!!", and the kids knew I had lost it too.

When the last day of summer was ending and I took the last of the kids home (9 including my 4 had been at the house that day) I asked Sam a rhetorical question. Mostly I was thinking out loud. I said, "Oh- am I just the meanest mom ever?" Sam politely sat in the back of the car and said, "Yes. You are. Sometimes you aren't, but most of the time you are." As I looked at him in amazement, he happily turned to me and said, "You're welcome for being honest!"

I knew without a doubt I was ready for school to start.

My heart just melts seeing them on the first day - mostly because I can see from previous year's pictures how much they have grown, and it is going by too quickly. Try as I might to keep them little, they still manage to grow up. I cannot believe that Emma is starting Junior High, but she is ready. Linc is loving fourth grade. This year he is in a third/fourth grade combo class. His favorite part? That he gets to eat lunch first before the other fourth grade classes. Sam loves being in first grade. He loves the full day. He loves being a "big" kid. His biggest challenge? Resisting the urge to fill his pockets to overflowing with all the rocks he finds on the playground.

Tessa is as mad as ever that she can't ride the bus, too. However, being the only kid to run errands with mom has its perks!

How am I doing? I miss them, but they were ready. Truth be told, I was ready. I love their school. I love that I'm not all alone yet and there is still one child to cuddle in the mornings. I love the quiet of the mornings after everyone has safely gotten off to school. I love grocery shopping with only one child. I love cleaning a room and knowing it might stand a chance of staying clean for a few hours. I love not hearing "I'm bored." At this point I don't even mind the homework. I love hearing the bus pull up and knowing that the chaos will begin again - after all that quiet I'm ready for it all to get crazy again. I love hearing the door open and the first thing out of anyone's mouth is a loud "Mom?" I love it. I love school.

You're welcome for being honest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can you hear the singing?

Do you hear the Allelujah chorus coming from Boise? Do you hear the shouts of joy? Our kitchen is done. Can you believe it? Our three week minor remodel is done after only eight months? Seroiusly, we signed the original contract for this to be started on November 13th. It was supposed to be done three weeks later with a back up date of December 18th. Here we are in July, and he finished on Monday the 6th.

Now we have a cabinet door on every opening. Each drawer has a handle. We can sit at our table and no one has to climb in over chairs to get seated. Here are a few before and after pictures. I don't know why, but these pictures make the cabinets look more red than they actually are.


We were fortunate that our kitchen has been functional for most of the time. We never had to wash dishes in the tub or anything like that, and the changes over the last six weeks have been small at best. We started out just changing the island and counters, but then it expanded into new cabinet doors and a new hood. Despite it being relatively small, it feels like an enormous weight has been lifted. No more wondering when it will be done. No more accommodating schedules to meet workers. No more exposed garbage cans, tupperware, and kids' cups. No more reaching in through the bottom of the cabinet to try and push out a drawer because there was no drawer handle on it.

Now as we look at other projects we have been contemplating we find ourselves thinking, "Nah. We can live with it!"

They're back!

I took this photo of Ted and Sam because I thought it was so sweet how Sam gets so excited each week to help Ted mow the lawn. Tessa just follows them around too. However, I am publishing this picture because Ted's nemeses have returned. If you look between the lawnmower and Sam you can see the holes in the lawn. We have trapped, flooded, poisoned, and even blown up these holes hoping to eradicate the gophers. But to no avail. They are back. Their holes are destroying our lawn. I am ready to give up. The point goes to the gophers in my book. I don't ask Ted about it. I know it makes him crazy, and what is he going to do about it? What is the next step after blowing them up????


It was awesome! I never cease to be amazed at how beautiful those red rocks, cliffs, hikes, and arches are. It is simply amazing. It was so fun hanging out with everyone from the Wagner side of the family. We simply loved this trip and had a wonderful time - can't wait until next year!

We also want to let everyone know how much we appreciate their help when our stupid car wouldn't start. From the kids being farmed out to other cars, the late night drive to Salina and back, and emotional support through a rocky ride home.....we genuninely appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. We love you all. If only we could rewrite the story a bit and change mom and dad's car being hit. I am just so grateful no one was hurt. Love you all.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ode to the Crib

Man I love this crib. It has gone through four kids, seven moves, three states, and countless teeth have been cut on this thing. It has been painted, mended, and loved from the start. I love this crib. I've learned several things from this crib:

1. The crib is a great place for your baby to make sure they are nestled safe and sound and that they get a good night's sleep.

2. The crib is a great place for your baby to make sure they are contained to make sure mom and dad get a good night's sleep.

3. Kids can climb and jump higher than I think. As I am sure every parent has experienced, there comes a point where your child will fall, climb, stand, and jump to escape the crib. With each experience we lower the mattress and pray for a bit more time with our beloved crib. Which brings me to my final lesson.

4. Where there is a will there is a way.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the side of the crib has been kicked off by Tessa. It is being held up by the ties on the bumper.

Goodbye crib. Hello extended bedtime routine. Hello mid-night awakenings for a drink of water. Hello new freedom for an active two-year-old.

Man I miss that crib.

Monday, June 22, 2009


This past month has absolutely flown by. So many fun things have begun. Emma and Lincoln started swim team again. Sam is in swim lessons. We are all doing more bike riding. Ted is gearing up for his bike races. Tessa is in a big girl bed. Emma is in Young Women's. Sammy lost his first tooth.

Life is great, and we are loving it.

However, lest we get too comfortable there will always be a few things that make you stop and say, "REALLY??!!" And just to be clear, I am not saying this in a tone of, "that is great" or "I can't believe it." Rather, it is more a tone of "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????"

Example: In our kitchen there were four cabinets that were cut to the wrong size. Send them back, re-order them again, wait the two weeks to have them built, another week for the staining, glazing, blah, blah, blah....and then finally? Ah.....the day arrives. The cabinet installer gets here with beautiful doors. I could almost cry. The kitchen is so close to being done. The next words from his mouth should be "Ta-Da!!!" Instead, a cry of anguish. The doors that were too narrow are now the right width, but they are two inches too short. REALLY??!!!

Second example: We have mostly switched from ground beef to ground turkey. As I thawed some meat for dinner I ran outside to grab something. In that brief moment Tessa opened the microwave, reached in, and grabbed a handful of raw ground turkey. Being poultry I called poison control. No need to panic. Just spend the next 24 to 72 hours watching for signs of salmonella poisoning. REALLY??!!! (She is okay by the way).

Last example: At any given point in the day you will probably hear kids running around, doors being opened and closed as kids are in and out, music playing, and occasionally some TV. What you will also hear is a constant "THUD" as a narcissistic bird runs into our window. I'm not exaggerating when I say he does this about 200 times a day. When you look in from the window there is a mirror. I can only imagine that each time he makes an attempt at the window he is thinking "this time I'll make it to that good looking bird!" I have resorted to closing our dining room drapes in an effort to dissuade him. No such luck. the drapes make the window an even bigger mirror. The thuds continue incessantly. I can usually tune him out, but at 6:00 in the morning I begin dreaming of Red Ryder BB guns. Whether the bird is just dumb or narcissistic you find yourself thinking "REALLY??!!"
Here he is waiting for his next attempt...

And making another attempt. Stupid bird.

Life keeps us guessing, doesn't it?

By the way, I'm the new girl's camp director - REALLY??!!